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Buccaneers Break Clear Of Bruff

Buccaneers Break Clear Of Bruff

Buccaneers continue to chase hard at the top of Ulster Bank League Division 1B, as evidenced by Saturday’s 35-8 triumph over cup finalists Bruff at Dubarry Park.

Hendre Marnitz's men pulled clear in the second half courtesy of tries from number 8 Kolo Kiripati, full-back John O'Brien and prop Conor Higgins.

Buoyant Bruff made their first visit to the Athlone ground, six days after their stunning Bateman All-Ireland Cup semi-final win over UCD.

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After a nine week lay-off, Buccaneers understandably took their time to settle. But, in the 13th minute, their hooker and captain Garrett Halligan crossed for a galvanising try. Alex Hayman was set loose down the left wing and he linked with Halligan who grubbered ahead and won the race for the touchdown.

The conversion followed from scrum half Adam Kennedy, who had landed a third minute penalty for the opening points.

This was a game of contrasting styles, Bruff enjoying some decent spells of possession and keeping things tight. But when Buccs got a chance to spread the ball wide, they looked far more potent.

A 19th minute try from lock Dermot Murnane, following a well-executed series of forward drives, closed the gap for Bruff and they were just 10-8 adrift at half-time following a penalty from centre Brian Cahill.

Buccs had one notable scoring chance before the break, with full-back O'Brien having a try ruled out for a forward pass and

But the Pirates, who were very efficient in their attacking play, completely dominated proceedings after the break. Kiripati had a try ruled out for another forward pass, before Jack Carty's drop goal and a Kennedy penalty gave them some cushion at 16-8.

Then came the flood of tries as Buccs turned on the style. The dangerous Hayman and Stephen Burke set up Kiripati for Buccs' second try of the afternoon and his fifth of the current league run.

Kiripati and his back row colleague Burke, who was voted the man-of-the-match, were then involved in the build-up for a try for the supporting O'Brien, and the bonus point was sealed when Higgins crashed over in the 71st minute.

Bruff, who deserved a tighter scoreline, forced the issue in the closing stages, but Buccs' try-line remained intact despite yellow cards for winger Shane Monahan and out-half Carty.

Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)